Solved RT-N16 bricked after firmware update? How to rescue?

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Wallace_n_Gromit

Senior Member
I'm looking for an exhaustive step-by-step generic method to recover from a failed firmware update for the RT-N16 mips ASUS router. I imagine that something has been posted at snbforums. Just can't seem to find a specific location.

I was updating from a working version of [Asus RT-N16 LTS fork 374.43_44EAj9527] to [Asus RT-N16 LTS fork 374.43_45EAj9527].

now, my computer doesn't recognize the router/IP address for the router. The power light and WAN/LAN lights come on. I've tried several ways/times to do a factory reset.
 

Wallace_n_Gromit

Senior Member

I actually have the original install CD that came with my N16 purchased on Amazon 13MAR2013. My page 46 is "Chapter 5: Installing the utilities". The box only came with the paper Quick Start Guide, Warranty Card, Install CD. (brushing the dust off everything getting ready to try recovery) My version of the User Manual on the CD is First Edition. I see that the version you found is the Third Edition. I will review that.

EDIT: Using the method from 3rd edition of user manual at the command prompt [ping 192.168.1.1 -t] results in:

Reply from 192.168.1.1: bytes=32 time<1ms TTL=100

which indicates the N16 is in rescue mode. The power button is slow flashing.

Using the firmware installation utility using John's Fork RT-N16_374.43_45EAj9527.trx, after some time, the utility indicates that the router is not in rescue mode.

2nd EDIT: After trying both methods, still cannot access router. The Power LED slowly flashes. The TTL=100 which indicates router is in rescue mode. Trying to update firmware (both stock and John's Fork) using ASUS Firmware Restoration utility after many seconds results in utility claiming the router is not in rescue mode. Have read that some have come across this issue.
 
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dave14305

Part of the Furniture
2nd EDIT: After trying both methods, still cannot access router. The Power LED slowly flashes. The TTL=100 which indicates router is in rescue mode. Trying to update firmware (both stock and John's Fork) using ASUS Firmware Restoration utility after many seconds results in utility claiming the router is not in rescue mode. Have read that some have come across this issue.
I don't know if the N16 has the same CFE UI as the AC68U, but instead of using the tool, try browsing to http://192.168.1.1/ and see if you can upload the firmware when in TTL=100 rescue mode.
 

Wallace_n_Gromit

Senior Member
I don't know if the N16 has the same CFE UI as the AC68U, but instead of using the tool, try browsing to http://192.168.1.1/ and see if you can upload the firmware when in TTL=100 rescue mode.
Thank you, Dave, for you assistance. I tried that and it didn't work. I did seem to recall in my dimmed memory that some had found that using modern Browsers/OS's seemed to muddy the ability of the ASUS rescue to work/access the router.

So I brushed off my old windows XP laptop, installed the old utilities from my Original Asus Utility CD. started the router in rescue mode, confirmed TTL=100. Now, the old Asus Firmware Restoration utility is at least seeing the router. I've run through 1 iteration of the firmware install of the last good official firmware, which failed. Currently running a second.... and more if required.

EDIT: WOOHOO!!! There is joy in Mudville. :D I must be a glutton for potential punishment, because I'm still gonna try John's Fork again.
 
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El Mariachi

Occasional Visitor
Glad it worked mate. Another option if that hadn't worked would have been to TFTP the image into the router while in rescue mode through a command prompt. I have used this method many times on Netgear routers in the past.
 

KsWoodsMan

Regular Contributor
The few times I've gotten the message that the router wasn't in the Recovery Mode and pings/lights were saying it was ,
is when the WAN connection was still hooked up between the failed router and the internet gateway.
I've had one that was bricked with the slow flashing power light but couldn't be reached at 192.168.1.1 .
As expected the ASUS Discovery tool didn't find it. But, after running it,
arp -a from my desktop did show it was at a different address.
From there, the ASUS Recovery tool was succesful in uploading new firmware.
 

wh7qq

Senior Member
Current Asus and RMerlin firmware may not allow upgrades to John's fork or anything else it doesn't like. In that case, the Asus Recovery Tool is necessary but if you are running Linux, even this won't work for you (w$ and crapple only) and the CFE Mini Web Server is the easiest way. There is some magic sequence of power cycles and button presses, which I forget, that gets to the Web Server.
 

wh7qq

Senior Member
Current Asus and RMerlin firmware may not allow upgrades to John's fork or anything else it doesn't like. In that case, the Asus Recovery Tool is necessary but if you are running Linux, even this won't work for you (w$ and crapple only) and the CFE Mini Web Server is the easiest way. There is some magic sequence of power cycles and button presses, which I forget, that gets to the Web Server.

Asus, bless 'em, enabled the broadcom CFE server on many (if not all) of their routers. This instruction (https://openwrt.org/docs/techref/bootloader/cfe) is the best I have seen for accessing it. Drill down the page until you get to a section called "web server". This may work only for broadcom based routers...can't speak to the others as I have only the RT-N66.
 
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